Chamber event looks at giving School Board authority to levy taxes

Friday, May 8, 2009 at 12:31am

Some school districts in Tennessee have the authority to not only govern schools, but levy taxes. Metro Schools is not one of them… yet.

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is organizing an event this month to examine whether such an arrangement would be beneficial for Nashville.

In December, the Chamber brought Kenneth Wong, author of The Education Mayor, to Nashville to discuss school systems run by urban mayors. This upcoming event, planned for May 28, is geared to explore what Hill considers to be another means of establishing a solid line of school district accountability.

“We’re interested in exploring governance systems that create clear lines of accountability. If you look at the way the system is set up in Metro, authority and accountability for the system is spread out over multiple authorities,” Hill said. “We’re interested in promoting an open community dialogue about these two possible governance reforms.”

Currently at Metro Nashville Public Schools, members of the elected Board of Education set school district policy and hire and evaluate the director of schools. But revenue for the system must be approved both by the Mayor’s Office and by Metro Council. Some believe this dilutes accountability for schools among too many government bodies.

The issue will be discussed at a Chamber panel at the end of this month. Panelists include Stephen Smith, assistant executive director of the Tennessee School Board Association; Kent McNish, a school board member for the Franklin County School District; Julia Bernath, vice chair of the Fulton County, Georgia, school board; and Alvin Wilbanks, a superintendent of schools in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

The panel is planned for May 28 at the Adventure Science Center, 800 Fort Negley Blvd. Chamber members attend free; others must pay $25. For more information, visit nashvillechamber.org.

6 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 5/8/09 at 5:07

Another group getting a train to start moving toward a plan that would give a few burecratic people authority over the school system. I note that most of the speaking guest are from special school district with their own taxing authority(As if we are short on taxing authorities). I get tired of $600,000.00 in tax dollars being given to the Chamber each yr. to promote ideas of theirs that cost more tax dollars. The positions and ideas for metro taken by the chamber of commerce and their partners
"The Tennessean" are ones I seem to be on the opposite side of approx. 60% of the time. So, Pay your $25.00 go to this event and tell me if I"m wrong!

By: Anna3 on 5/8/09 at 6:43

Oh yeah! That's going to happen! (When Hell Freezes Over) What gall these people have! These are the same folks that NEVER want input from Parents OR Taxpayers....and now they wnat a blank check....NEVER! Does ANYONE think that these same people will be any MORE responsive or transparent to listening to us if we have concerns over their runaway spending and oppose a tax increase in the future? Of course they won't....they've NEVER listened before! I'll never vote to give these people Carte' Blanche over my checkbook ...they don't exhibit the common sense God gave a fruit fly.

By: Dragon on 5/8/09 at 10:17

FTA - "Currently at Metro Nashville Public Schools, members of the elected Board of Education set school district policy and hire and evaluate the director of schools. But revenue for the system must be approved both by the Mayor’s Office and by Metro Council. Some believe this dilutes accountability for schools among too many government bodies."

So, they propose zero accountability for schools? Sure would be efficient.

By: pandabear on 5/8/09 at 11:38

"The panel is planned for May 28 at the Adventure Science Center, 800 Fort Negley Blvd. Chamber members attend free; others must pay $25. For more information, visit nashvillechamber.org."

They are blatantly nuts.

They want to charge $25 to attend a panel about
spending our money ?

By: govskeptic on 5/8/09 at 11:45

Most systems in this state and nation handle their schools exactly the way Metro does. At least with our current system if the governing school board gets too out of line with spending, the council can reign them in The mayor can express his views to both school board & council. These special districts, run schools the way they wish, decide the funding required, and then set the tax levy to pay for same. Dragon is right,. efficient , but at what could be and probably would be outrrageously expensive. No quarantee results would change one bit from current. While accountability may be too spread out now, I shutter to think of putting it totally in the venue of only 5 or 6 people.

By: Cowboy84 on 5/8/09 at 7:18

No....
check the decisions made by this and previous school boards.